Friday, April 30, 2010

Music Fest- Friday Night

Friday night...the kick of of "Memphis in May".  Music Fest is underway. Bands including Al Kapone, B-52s, Earth Wind & Fire, Boys Like Girls, Limp Bizket, to name a few will perform at some point on one of three stages at the festival.  The  music goes from approximately 5pm Friday-2am Saturday  morning, 2pm Saturday afternoon-2am Sunday morning, and naturally same routine on Sunday.

The weekend has started, sit down, buckle up, put in the ear plugs and away we go! The weekend is sure to produce thundershowers, sunburns, headaches, and the kinds of stories you tell for 20 years.

Mmmmmwwwah! Good to see you again Memphis in May.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Keep the wind out of your eyes...

This awning will have a twin in the front of the house at some point!

We love our new was my inspiration...

Granted, I will probably never have orange front doors, or live in Tory Burch store (store pictured at Houston and Elizabeth, NYC)...I still like her awnings.

the LONG and SHORT of it.

In the past year I've been searching for  the perfect shower curtain for our guest bathroom.  The crazy part of it is that I was looking for a very specific that I had seen, naturally it was no longer being made.  So actually I was searching for a very close replica of the shower curtain that was no longer being made.  Now, I  keep calling it a shower curtain because that is where the curtain was going to go, but what I'm in search of isn't actually curtain that would be considered for the shower.  The curtain I am in search of of is a brown silk curtain that's no shorter than 108 inches long with silver grommets at the top.  It needs to be lined and the panels need to be a minimum of 48" wide.  With these length and width requirements, I would need 4 panels to adequately cover the guest bathroom shower stall.
As I said, I have been in mad, hot pursuit of said curtain for at least a year.  A dear friend of mine, who just happens to be the best interior designer in all of Memphis if not the Mid-South, has the ideal curtain hanging in her downstairs bathroom.  It was love at first sight.  I simply adored the use of this very heavy curtain against the beautiful brown walls of her bathroom.  Some might say I'm a copy cat, and then the more optimistic types might say that copying is the most sincere form of form of flattery.  In this instance I maintain the latter. While her curtain is absolutely the cat's pajamas of curtains, I wouldn't be able to duplicate this mater piece.  I would have to go for a close duplicate.
My "dreams" came true about 2 weeks ago while scanning the pages of an online resource..."and BINGO was his name-o"...I had found them.
Comparatively speaking....
My friend's curtain was all one panel. Yes that's right, it is a glorious sight. The panel is complete with  the most beautiful balloon skirt you've ever seen (this portion I was not able to duplicate).  It's perfection in a nutshell.  I did find my perfect panels, there are 4 of them, each 48" by 108". They are hung floor to ceiling with a modest pool at the bottom (no pun intended).
Aside from this hysterical hunt, I also needed something that would be complimentary, if not the exact same on the window in said bathroom.  The curtain God's were on my side on this particular day because along with my 4 giant panels, I was able to find 2 panels that are 48" by 63" to complete my window project.
I got the curtains, hung them...and my guest bathroom is living happily ever after.
Pictured: Guest Bathroom in the "mother in law" suite.  Walls: Grizzly Bear Brown by Benjamin Moore.
Curtains: Espresso by West Elm.
This room is DARK...I like it though...but it was quite hard to photograph with adequate lighting for obvious reasons.

On the job front...I've applied for 9 jobs...and the LONG and SHORT of it is...I may be unemployed for ever. How dismal.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I take my inspiration from my Handsome's fur.

So Handsome and I were sitting at home tonight considering some options for paint colors in the sun/living rooms and found this picture of beautiful Gwyneth Paltrow posing next to a fireplace that could be a distant cousin to the one not more than 6 inches from where we were sitting.  This one is a dandy, I'm curious to see how tall you think it is.  Gwyneth is 5'8? I'm not sure...but judging by the picture and basing her height on that guess, the fireplace must be 6'2 or 6'3. My, my it's pretty.  Ours is approximately 6 ft. tall and 7 ft. wide. 

Anyway, back to the paint color.  After having the sconces installed a couple weeks ago, I've finally become used to them in the space. Now on to paint.  I had my mind set on a shade of gray.  I got samples from Benjamin Moore in Shadow Gray, Sweet Innocence, and Thundercloud this point I feel like I'm going back to the drawing board with my friendly bucket of Decorator's White that we used for the master bath.  

This is where the fireplace comes in.  Being that it is all stone, the #1 problem is that I don't want to pick a color that makes it look yellow.  The current color does just that.  #2 problem/obstacle is that we have a 6ft grand piano at the opposite end of the room, #3 is that we also have floor to ceiling black curtains on the two big windows.  So there's the whole issue of light int he room.  Trust me there is plenty since the sunroom is just off the south end, but oh geeeez.  What do WE think?

Here are the Benjamin Moore options...
1. Shadow Gray
2. Sweet Innocence
3.Thundercloud Gray

While watching 9 By Design last evening, I noticed that a lot of the walls in their homes are white.  I like that.  Why was that so hard to decide.  I painted my bathroom white...I love that, why wouldn't I love a white living/sun room?  

The living room as it is is a shade of golden yellow.  5 of the rooms in the house are painted variations on this color.  While it is quite nice, I'm proud that they picked this and something like hunter green (that would have been hard to live with for 2 years in these rooms).  
But for now, it's time for a change. 

I like this perspective of the room.  It gives a range of the yellow color in question when thinking about the room's new future of gray or white.  Also, I'm not sure if you're picking up on it but I have a thing for black and white and the colors that range in between.  Handsome has claimed his napping space for the past couple of days on the arm rests in between the two (NEW) white chairs.  Good thing his belly is white and not black...I can deal with some black fur on things(...)
This room is a strange beast.  When the home was purchased 4 years ago, nobody had lived here for over 10 years.  The floor in this room had to be completely restructured (as did the ceiling in here and the living room).  In here we have a variation on the yellow.  This shad is a bit lighter, but still yellow.  The ceiling is green.  Green, really? Green? I'm confused where this color came into the picture.  Orange floor, yellow walls, another ornate plaster fixture on the wall, and a green ceiling. Huh.  The plan for the ceiling is a super duper white high gloss, just like in the living room. This room clearly has no obstacles with sun light, but alas, still has a paster fixture/statue/fountain built into the east wall.  I think one of the shades of gray would be particularly nice in here. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

2 and a Handsome by design

I've recently become obsessed with 9 by Design on Bravo.  I realize that only 2 episodes have been on but I love the style of this show. Or should I say I like their style and the camera just happens to be there? Either way, way to go Bravo for selecting a "functional" family to film.
In light of watching the progression of Robert and Courtney's homes, I decided to put together a little progression of our homes.  Here they are:

712 1/2 Mass St. Lawrence, Kansas 66044
Our first place together was on Massachusetts St. (known as Mass St. ) in downtown Lawrence, KS. Our windows were the 4 on the left side (there's actually 2 buildings there) on the 2nd floor.  The curtains hanging in the window are the ones I left there when I moved out.  I can't believe they are still there.  When we lived there there was a culinary store below called "The Bay Leaf". They sold fancy coffee so our house always smelled delicious!  We had a buzzer system, folks buzzed us to come up, it was very cool.  I loved living there.

923 Tennessee St. Lawrence, Kansas 66044
This was our first house.  We moved in here about 2 months before we got married.  The house was built by KU architecture students as part of their final projects.  There are 5 of these houses, it was super modern and we loved it.  It was much different than our apartment downtown.  

101 South Main #209 Memphis, TN 38103
When we moved to Memphis we decided to rent for a while to decide what part of town we wanted to live in. Whether we wanted a condo/town house/zero lot line/house with a yard, etc.  We lived here for 18 months and it was divine.  We had almost 2000sq. feet and were with all the amenities we desired.  Our building is the shortest of the 3 and our 3 windows are on the 2nd floor.  We looked right out over south main and when the trolley would go by, Handsome would hunker down and try to hide.  He finally got over it about the time we moved.

And this is our house now... It's a lot of fun to decorate, to entertain in, and for sure to live in.  
We have been here for 2 years and 3 months. 

...and then there is Geoff's home away from home.  This is Bales Organ Recital Hall, part of The Lied Center at The University of Kansas.  It's beautiful.  No house will ever be as sweet!

One week, plus a few days.

A few (okay 10) days have gone by.  It's spring time, what can I say?

The azaleas have bloomed (at our next door neighbor's house).  They face our sunroom, we are really enjoying the view!  Thanks neighbor!

We have done some cooking....Handsome loves it. The rule is no paws on the table.  Do you think "himself" actually follows that rule?  Heck no.
As I'm typing this Handsome is sitting next to me (on the table). 

Our dear friend Katherine made BBQ Shrimp.  This is one meal where Handsome's name was not on the guest list....for obvious reasons.

Geoff played with the University of Memphis brass faculty at St. John's Episcopal Church (our church) for their spring concert.  It was lovely.

These dandies arrived from Pottery Barn...they are for our bedroom but have made a stop in the living room.  Oddly enough....they may just get to "sit" here for a while. They totally thwart my plans for the space, after shipping off the purple couch the room was nearly there.  Isn't it funny how plans change when a nice arm chair comes into the picture?

Every once in a while...I have to buy soap.  It happens once in a blue moon and it's one of those purchases (for some people) that is as obnoxious as buying socks or underwear.  It's the behind the scenes stuff you need but you don't like to buy.  I developed this semi-hatred in university.  Fortunately, when Mom and Dad came to town inside their magic sled....socks, laundry detergent, cascade, etc.
When it's all said and done...the soap purchase is actually an enjoyable one for me.  The bottles are pretty and the soap smells good. For me, on this particular soap shopping trip, I purchased new dispensers.  I've wanted these for quite some time, and by golly...this was the trip.  I bought them for the bathrooms and for the kitchen.  The kitchen has milk glass, the bathrooms have green and clear glass respectively.  I couldn't be happier.  Soap trips are no longer on the down list for me!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Celebrate Spring

Celebrate Spring

This is a video my Mom put together. The photos are from my family's house in Kansas. Happy Spring.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A simple Saturday in April...

It was a lovely Friday night and Saturday.  What a lovely weekend!  Here we are back to a "school night" (since church is a workday) I thought I'd share a couple of photos from the weekend.
Geoff cooked steaks on Friday night, I made garlic mashed potatoes...Handsome came to dinner.
Saturday I worked in the yard.  Planted some new peonies (hopefully they'll be pink) and we wen to dinner at our friend Katherine's house.  She made BBQ-ed Shrimp.  It was dee-lish!  Her roomy Elizabeth was on hand to help us crack a few "that's what she said jokes".....all in all...a good day!
Thank you, Lord.  Amen. 

Friday, April 9, 2010

Episcopal Priest Barbie

Ladies and Gents...The Rev. Barbie from St. Barbara's-by-the-sea, Malibu, CA.

I just saw this group on Facebook and am cracking up with the photos...just wanted to share!

Stop by her page on Facebook, it's good for a smile!

Thank you Mr. Fred Rogers, you're my hero.

As many of you know, I've been flung back in the job market.  I've filled out many applications, and composed many essays.  My blog has been more conversation, something I write more for fun.  The way I write for fun is obviously different.  (other people do this too, right???)
I thought I would share some of my "serious" writing.  What's below is one of my essays that goes with a job application.

This is the question:

Describe a particularly meaningful learning experience, and explain how this has influenced your approach to teaching.

This is my answer:

Many positive learning experiences helped to create my approach to teaching.  Many wonderful teachers helped to shape who I am today.  Growing up in the nation’s heartland in central Kansas, it may appear on the surface as though I have had a fairly typical life for this time and region of the world.  I was parented by two hard-working parents, one a lawyer and the other a college professor.  I attended schools well known for their learner-centered approach to education and a strong commitment to preparing students for work in the 21st century.  My days were spent from early until late engaged in productive activities.  In addition to attending classes, I played sports, practiced the piano, did my homework, played with the neighborhood kids, and I went to church. 

My learning experiences were learner-centered due to my teachers’ and parents’ deliberate, focused attention squarely on learning.  When instruction is learner-centered, the action focuses on what students (not teachers) are doing.  Being learner-centered focuses attention on what the student is learning, how the student is learning, the conditions under which the student is learning, whether the student is retraining and applying learning, and how current learning positions the student for future learning.  Because the instructional action features the student, the learner-centered orientation accepts, cultivates, and builds on the ultimate responsibility students have for learning.  My teachers or parents could not learn for me.  I had to do it for myself.

When I rethink my learning experiences, I recall many that were influential.  For example, I learned a great deal about my own voice when writing and illustrating a book in my third grade class, and dressing up in the sixth grade to resemble my great, great, great Grandfather, Judge George H. Lillie, and presenting a portion of his Kansas Constitutional Convention (1859) speech to my classmates.  These learning experiences are influential because they were facilitated by teachers who allowed me to bring my background and interests to the content area curriculum.  The learning activities were structured through a series of related steps leading to outcomes that I understood and hoped to accomplish. These learning experiences gave me space to be creative as I added to my existing knowledge and developed new skills. I remember struggling to learn algebra and geometry, and working to demonstrate my secondary-level knowledge and understandings of English literature; American history and government; and elements of music and patterns and structures found in composers’ techniques within various genres, styles and historical periods as I studied and learned music theory.  Through the study of languages, I learned about geography and culture while I learned at the introductory level to read and speak Latin, German, and French.  However, no learning opportunities have ever influenced me as much as my experience growing up with a severely disabled sibling.

I have one brother, Patrick, who is nearly two years, my senior.  Patrick has lived everyday of his life as a member of our family in our family’s home.  Patrick’s communication, social, and problem-solving skills development stopped when he was approximately thirty months old. Patrick requires 24-hour care.  Patrick has never spoken a word, and yet Patrick has learned to communicate his preferences, priorities and concerns using objects, pictures and the assistance of other people.  Patrick communicates with clarity, power and fervor his happiness and love.  His message is more convincing and goes far beyond that which most hope can be effectively communicated with elegant words.  As my parents and I often say, “Patrick is the best teacher. Patrick shows everyone who will only look what really matters in life.”

In the early 1980s, Dr. Gary Mesibov, a clinical psychologist at the University of North Carolina, Division TEACCH, diagnosed my brother’s Autism and severe mental retardation.  At that time, a medical diagnosis of Autism was rarely made.  Individuals with Autism were often misunderstood and mistreated.  My parents took a stand against experiential treatment using psychotropic drugs and harsh, intrusive interventions.  They helped to pave the way for parents, community members and professionals in today’s society to use a new lens for seeing and understanding individuals with severe disabilities.  Through their lives, advocacy and teaching, my parents lived and demonstrated new approaches to teaching and learning, which are now well-known as positive behavioral supports and structured communication techniques.

Growing up in a household with a disabled sibling has tremendously shaped my life.  My critical thinking skills, my sensitivity to others’ needs, my ability to recognize when others are in need, and my compassion for helping others are all concepts that I believe I learned while helping my parents care for, positively instruct, support and love my brother.  Our ability to live as a strong family has come from our deeply rooted faith.  From this, I believe I have learned to be a flexible member of a team, always listening and contributing to targeted goals in a timely and effective manner.  I believe I can enable today’s children and youth to learn these invaluable skills.

Now, as an adult, I have come to love the study of servant leadership.  Perhaps this is because I grew up with two of the most pristine models in my mother and father.  They provided me with an ethical sounding board, a model marriage relationship (they’ve now been married 42 years), the ability to see beyond labels, and the belief that education helps to overcome barriers.  I tell people that my parents tricked me; I thought I was learning reading, math, science, social studies, government, history, religion, and music while I was a child but I had teachers and parents who were teaching me about integrity, faith, about doing the right things, in addition to all those academic and technical things.  I believe that the tools I have gathered from my life experiences not only help me to be a better teacher and life-long learner, but also a better Christian, a better companion, leader and friend. 

One of my favorite ways to think about teaching, education and service is captured in a quotation by an American teacher, minister, and song writer, Fred Rogers (1928-2003), the television host of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood:  “At the center of the universe is a loving heart that continues to beat and that wants the best for every person.  Anything we can do to help foster the intellect and spirit and emotional growth of our fellow human beings that is our job.  Those of us who have this particular vision must continue against all odds.  Life is for service.”

Thursday, April 8, 2010

back on with a switch

Today the electricians came and waved a magic (electrical) wand and installed my beloved sconces that I purchased months ago.  The sconces to the left  <<<------ are the ones that came with the house.  They will go in the donation box to be loved by another.

Part of what took so long to get this project finished was the cost of the sconces.  The room has not 1, not 2, but 4 sconces.  Buying a decent scone is a task on it's own but then buying 4 of them, I mean "hello"....

I came upon these dandies earlier this year and snatched up  4 without even thinking of it.  I was not only (1) tired of not having this project done but (2) in love with these.  When you love them, do you really care as much about what it costs? (don't answer that)

Because the sconces are a different shape - the new sconces have an interesting "paint job" to go with them for the time being.  See the white triangle.  The other sconces were painted around...just as these will be. For the time being it looks like what could be interpreted as an art installation.  It's all on purpose right?

 Handsome was on hand earlier this week as prep work was done for the installation.  He always has to have a paw in things.

At the end of the day, another project checked off the list and another application finished and ready for consideration.

In addition to the my sconce project being done, today was particularly delightful because of my purchase of my first pieces of McCarty Pottery.  I can't believe I've lived here for 4 years and haven't seen it before.  This is for sure something I would have noticed, trust me.  Pottery really isn't my thang, but I love this. I noticed it a couple of days ago while reading another blog and went in mad persuit to find some to buy!  Thankfully, a post on facebook was quickly answered and I got into my little white car and drove like the very wind it's self to make the purchase.  Voila---my very own McCarty Pottery.  So...if you're looking for gifts folks...this is my new suggestion (for others naturally :)...oh happy day.


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